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14 Perfect Water Chestnuts Substitutes For Tasty, Nutritious Recipes

First thing first! Water Chestnuts are different from Chestnuts. They are not nuts! They are tubers, very much like potatoes, and grow on the water’s surface.

They just look like chestnuts when they are fetched from water, and they have a sweet, fruity flavor. 

Due to their crunchiness, deliciousness, and subtle flavor can be easily added to almost any dish. Therefore, if you love crispness and crunchiness in your food, don’t forget to add Water Chestnuts to your veggies.

And the best part about Water Chestnuts is their high nutritious value. They are low in calories but rich in antioxidants. As a result, they help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases.

Best Water Chestnuts Substitute

If you are preparing a Chinese dish or any southeast Asian delicacy, then there are high chances that you are planning to include Water Chestnuts as one of the main ingredients.

But what if you didn’t find Water Chestnuts in your favorite grocery store or are too lazy to go out to the market to buy them?

Nutritional Value Table

SubstituteCalories (Per 100 gm)Protein (Per 100 gm)Fat (Per 100 gm)
Canned Water Substitute972g0.1g
White Turnips36.41.17g0.13g
Jicama380.72g0.09g
Jerusalem Artichokes762g0.01g
Bamboo Shots272.6g0.03g
Daikon160.7g0.1g
Celery160.7g0.2g
Pecans6919.17g71.97g
Crosnes (Chinese Artichokes)532.9g0.3g
Almonds57921.15g49.93g
Hazelnuts62814.95g60.75g
Cassava Flour1601.36g0.28g
Fresh Ginger3479.12g5.95g
Radish160.7g0.1g

Let’s briefly discuss these substitutes and see how they can supplant water chestnuts and make your dish equally tasty and nutritious. 

1. Canned Water Chestnuts

Canned Water Chestnuts as water chestnuts substitute

If your nearest grocery store has run out of their stock of fresh Water Chestnuts, you can easily opt for Canned Water Chestnuts. They have the same flavor as the fresh ones.

However, they will not be as crunchy as fresh Water Chestnuts because they are canned or tinned.

The best thing about Canned Water Chestnuts, apart from their easy availability, is that preserving water chestnuts in cans or tins does not affect their texture, color, or taste.

Hence, they can be easily substituted for fresh Water Chestnuts. Moreover, you won’t have to peel them, which saves some of your time.

How To Substitute

Replacing fresh Water Chestnuts with a tin or a can of Water Chestnuts is simple. You need to maintain a 1:1 ratio, which means you can substitute Water Chestnuts with an equal quantity of Canned Water Chestnuts, especially if you are making a stir-fry dish. If you plan to cook Canned Water Chestnuts in a cake better, make sure to cook through the dish.

If you are still wondering how to include Canned Water Chestnuts in your dish, check out the following video by ‘Sanjeev Kapoor Khazana’:

2. White Turnips

White Turnips as water chestnuts substitute

Turnips are readily available in every grocery store, specifically during winter. There are a variety of turnips available in the market.

But, if you want to replace Water Chestnuts with turnips, it is better to go for White Turnips as they do not have a robust peppery flavor like the other turnips. 

White Turnips have a delicately sweet flavor, and just like Water Chestnuts, they can be peeled and eaten raw.

Therefore, they can quickly supplant Water Chestnuts in recipes like salads, roasted veggies, and even soups. Moreover, turnips can be quickly boiled, roasted, steamed, or cooked.

Another advantage of turnips is their relatively cheap cost. Hence, replacing Water Chestnuts with White Turnips will not affect your budget too.

How To Substitute

While purchasing White Turnips, ensure they are not too big, as the big ones have slightly bitter notes and a peppery flavor. Moreover, while using turnips in your dish as a substitute for water chestnuts, you can cook them slightly in water or oil. This will help break down the starch content of the turnips, providing them a similar texture to that of a water chestnut.In terms of measurements, you can replace Water Chestnuts with an equal quantity of White Turnips.

The following video by ‘French Cooking Academy’ gives a step-by-step tutorial on ‘How to make stuffed turnips’ Check it out: 

3. Jicama

Jicama as water chestnuts substitute

Jicama, just like turnips, is a root vegetable that is round in shape. It has a thin golden-brown skin and has white interior loaded with starch.

Due to its Mexican origin is also called Mexican potato, Mexican yam bean, and Mexican water chestnut. It is also referred to as Chinese Turnip. 

Jicama is an excellent substitute for Water Chestnuts because it is equally healthy and nutritious. Like Water Chestnuts, it is rich in antioxidants and is suitable for the heart and cholesterol.

It is loaded with Vitamin C, Folate, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, and Manganese, and has small amounts of Vitamin E, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B6, Calcium, Zinc, Copper, and Phosphorus!

In addition, it promotes digestion and aids in weight loss

Due to its slightly sweet and nutty flavor it can easily act as a substitute for Water Chestnuts.   

How To Substitute

Peel off the Jicama root first and slice it. To keep the slices of Jicama fresh, you can put them in a bowl of fresh water and lemon juice.A cup of Water Chestnuts can be replaced by an equal quantity of fresh Jicama slices. You can simmer them in water for some time before including them in your dish. However, it is recommended not to add the entire Jicama in one go. Instead, add it to your dish gradually and keep tasting it.

You absolutely cannot miss the following recipe for Spicy Jicama Salad by ‘AllRecipes’:

4. Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem as water chestnuts substitute

Native to central North America, Jerusalem Artichoke differs from the usual artichoke. It belongs to the sunflower family and is also called sunroot, Wild Sunflower, and Sunchoke.

Some of its other names are Earth Apple and Topinambur. 

Like Jicama, Jerusalem Artichoke, which looks like a ginger root, is one of the best substitutes for Water Chestnuts due to their similar flavor and texture. You can include them in your dish, either cooked or uncooked.

They are crunchy when raw, and they get softer when cooked. They taste great in salads and soups and can be roasted.

To use Jerusalem Artichokes in your dish, you first need to peel off their skin, as the digestive system of humans cannot digest them.

Then you can slice or dice it as per your choice and include it in your dish, just like you would have included Water Chestnuts.

Jerusalem Artichokes are rich in iron and contain a good amount of Vitamin B1 and potassium. It also contains Copper, Magnesium, and Phosphorus.

How To Substitute

Jerusalem Artichokes contain a dietary inulin fiber. Hence, it is advisable to use them in limited quantities. For example, you can substitute a cup of Water Chestnuts with a mixture of Jerusalem Artichokes, Jicama slices, and some slices of White Turnips. And, as mentioned earlier, it is important to peel off the skin of Jerusalem Artichokes, as it is not digestible.

Check out Chef Jonathan Cheung’s recipe for Jerusalem Artichokes:

5. Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo Shots as water chestnuts substitute

Bamboo shoots are edible bamboo sprouts, which eventually turn into long stalks of bamboo. Due to their firm texture, they can replace Water Chestnuts in your dish and provide a crunchiness. 

Like Water Chestnuts, you must cook Bamboo Shoots to remove the bitter flavor. But don’t worry! Cooking will not remove the crunchiness from bamboo shoots. 

You can also opt for Canned Bamboo Shoots, but they will have less flavor when compared to fresh Bamboo Shoots. Moreover, Canned Bamboo Shoots are delicate and not that crunchy.  

How To Substitute

The amount of Bamboo Shoots you want to add to your dish depends on your taste. Therefore, you can add them gradually to your dish while checking the taste till it reaches the level that suits your taste buds. Fresh Bamboo Shoots are tough to find, but they provide superior flavor to the canned ones.

The following video by ‘Fujian Grandma’ of braised pork belly with bamboo shoots is worth a try:

6. Daikon

Daikon as water chestnuts substitute

Daikon Radish is one of Japan’s most commonly consumed vegetables, and it is used in various Asian countries. Apart from being known as ‘Japanese Radish,’ it is also called ‘Chinese Radish’ and ‘Winter Radish.’ 

Daikon is a radish with long roots. It has a mildly sweet and peppery flavor. The part closest to the root is spicier than the part closest to the leaves. The part, which is closest to the leaves, is also sweeter and crunchier. 

It is an excellent substitute for Water Chestnuts, especially if you make stir-fry recipes, wraps, salads, and soups. Before using Daikon Radish in your recipe, make sure you peel off the skin first before dicing or slicing it as per your choice.

How To Substitute

You can maintain a ratio of 1:1 while replacing Water Chestnuts with Daikon Radish. You can also use a mix of Daikon Radish and Turnips as a supplant for Water Chestnuts. It is full of water and is a low-calorie, healthy substitute for Water Chestnuts.

The following video by TabiEats explains a simple process of preparing a Japanese recipe – Furofuki Daikon:

7. Celery

Celery as water chestnuts substitute

If you taste green, leafy vegetables, then celery can be a decent option to replace water chestnuts in your dish. It is rich in fiber and vitamins and low in calories, making it extremely popular in most parts of the world.

Although the celery and water chestnut flavors are pretty different, they both have the same texture. Moreover, it is pocket friendly and is readily available in any grocery store. 

Compared to water chestnuts or canned water chestnuts, celery has a strong flavor and more distinct taste.

So, if you love celery, you can use it as a substitute, but you still need to add some other ingredients to make up for the taste of water chestnuts.

How To Substitute

Celery can be used either cooked or uncooked. For example, you can use two cups of finely chopped celery for one cup of water chestnuts. Make sure celery is clean and free from dirt.

The following video by ‘Jamie Oliver’ explains the process of cutting and preparing celery for your dish: 

8. Pecans

Pecans as water chestnuts substitute

Pecans are nuts that are produced by pecan trees. Though they are not as healthy or nutritious as water chestnuts, they can be used as a substitute in some desserts where water chestnut is generally added as a topping. 

Pecans are high in fats and fiber and are also rich in many vitamins and minerals, which are essential for healthy eyes, teeth, bones, skin, nerves, and muscles. It has a sweet, buttery flavor with some floral undertones. 

How To Substitute

Pecans have a more robust texture than water chestnuts but can easily act as a tasty substitute in desserts. While replacing water chestnuts with pecans, you can maintain a ratio of 1:1 or reduce or increase the quantity depending on your love for pecans.

Check out the following recipe by ‘Preppy Kitchen’ to prepare sumptuous Pecan Pie: 

9. Crosnes (Chinese Artichokes)

Crosnes as water chestnuts substitute

A member of the mint family, Crosnes are small, crunchy tubers. They are also commonly known as Chinese Artichokes, Japanese Artichokes, or Knot Roots. It got its name ‘Crosne’ from the French village where it was initially cultivated. 

Just like Jerusalem Artichokes, they have an earthy flavor, giving a delicious taste and mouth-watering aroma to a dish. They are about one inch long and have a texture similar to Water Chestnuts.

The French variety, Crosnes, tastes somewhat like a potato. On the contrary, the American variety is a bit smaller and nuttier. 

Like carrots, they can be eaten uncooked, cooked, steamed, sautéed, or stir-fried.  

How To Substitute

If you love the taste of Chinese Artichokes or Crosnes, you can maintain a ratio of 1:1 while substituting them for Water Chestnuts. However, their skin is a bit hard to peel. Therefore, it is better to peel them underwater or after soaking them in water for some time.

Check out the following traditional recipe for Pickled Crosnes:

10. Almonds

Almonds as water chestnuts substitute

Almost everyone loves almonds due to their rich flavor, nutty texture, and innumerable health benefits. If you are looking for a substitute for Water Chestnut or its flour, you can quickly go with almonds or the floor of almonds. 

Almonds contain Vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, fiber, biotin, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. The textures of almonds and water chestnuts are similar, making almonds a good substitute.

However, compared to water chestnuts, which are on the sweeter side, almonds have a mildly salty, mildly sweet, and mildly bitter taste. 

If you, too, are a fan of almonds, you can easily replace water chestnuts in your dishes or desserts with almonds.

How To Substitute

You can maintain a ratio of 1:1 while replacing water chestnuts with almonds. Even while substituting the flour, you can maintain a balance of 1:1.

The following video by ‘Bright Side’ explains the numerous health benefits of eating almonds daily:

11. Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts as water chestnuts substitute

Hazelnuts, too, are a great option if you are looking for a substitute for water chestnuts. Just like almonds, they too are packed with Vitamin E, Thiamine, Vitamin B6, Folate, Phosphorus, Copper, Magnesium, and Manganese.

They also contain healthy monounsaturated fats. 

Obtained as nuts from hazel trees, they have a nutty texture and earthy flavor. Therefore, they can be easily used as a substitute for water chestnuts in soups, spreads, and sauces.

And if you are looking for a replacement for water chestnut flour, you can use hazelnut flour too. 

How To Substitute

You can maintain a ratio of 1:1 while replacing Water Chestnuts with Hazelnuts. Likewise, the same balance can be maintained while substituting the flour of water chestnuts with the floor of hazelnuts.

Check out the following video by ‘Tiffin Box’ explaining the recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Spread: 

12. Cassava Flour

Cassava Flour as water chestnuts substitute

Cassava is a root vegetable that is not only used as food but has medicinal qualities as well. It is a rich source of Vitamin C, Thiamine, Riboflavin, and Niacin.

It is a commonly used food item in Nigeria, South America, Thailand, Brazil, and Indonesia. 

Cassava is full of starch, and it tastes similar to potatoes. It has a sweet flavor. If you want a substitute for Water Chestnut flour, you can opt for Cassava flour. For best results, you can mix cassava flour with any other flour. 

How To Substitute

If you are baking a cake, you can easily replace water chestnut flour with cassava flour. However, cassava flour cannot rise, and it will make a hard and dense bread if not mixed with any other flour. You can replace 1 cup of water chestnut floor with one cup of cassava flour, half a cup of almond flour, and a few spoons of hazelnut flour.

If you don’t know how to make cassava flour at home, check out the following video by ‘Sweet Adjeley’:

13. Fresh Ginger

Fresh Ginger as water chestnuts substitute

Fresh Ginger can also make a suitable replacement for Water Chestnuts. Ginger is known for its slightly peppery, sweet flavor and intense and spicy aroma. But it has known and proven medicinal qualities too.

Though ginger may not be one of the best substitutes for water chestnuts due to major differences in their flavors and textures, you can use them in your dish to provide extra spice and flavor.

However, its spicy and peppery flavor cannot be used as a replacement for water chestnuts in every dish. 

How To Substitute

For one cup of water chestnut, you can use 1½ cups of finely chopped or grated ginger.

Check out the following video by ‘The Happy Foodie,’ which explains the recipe for a Ginger Cake:

14. Radish

Radish as water chestnuts substitute

Radishes are easily available in every grocery store. When eaten raw, they taste a bit peppery, a bit sweet, and they have a crunchy texture. Though they are much bigger than water chestnuts, they both have the same flavors. 

Like Daikon, radish is a good substitute for Water Chestnuts, especially if you make stir-fry recipes, wraps, or salads. They are available in the market in white and red colors.

The white radishes are generally long, while the red radishes are small and round.

How To Substitute

While supplanting Water Chestnuts with radish, maintain a 1:1 ratio. If you don’t want the extra peppery or spicy flavor, peel off the skin before dicing or grating the radish.

Check out the following video by Natasha from ‘Natashas Kitchen,’ in which she explains a simple recipe for ‘Cucumber and Red Radish salad’:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Substitute Water Chestnuts With Jerusalem Artichoke?

Yes, you can supplant Water Chestnuts by Jerusalem Artichokes. But you must be careful, as Jerusalem Artichokes, although nutritious, are high in starch, and its excessive intake might affect your digestion.

Therefore, it is advisable to substitute Water Chestnuts with a mix of Jerusalem Artichokes, Jicama slices, and White Turnips.

What Care Should I Take While Substituting Water Chestnuts With White Turnips?

White Turnips are easily available in every grocery store, especially during winter. They are cost-effective too. But, turnips of bigger size often have a slightly peppery and bitter taste, and you certainly don’t want such flavors in your dish.

So, while picking turnips, make sure you pick them of small size.  

Can I Substitute Water Chestnuts With Canned Or Tinned Water Chestnuts?

Water Chestnuts are not easy to find everywhere. So, don’t feel disheartened if you can’t find fresh Water Chestnuts. You can easily find a can or a tin of water chestnuts in your nearest grocery store.

However, if you want to have only water chestnuts and can’t find fresh Water-chestnuts, then Canned Water Chestnuts are the best option for you.

Is Bamboo Shoots A Good Substitute For Water Chestnuts?

Yes, you can replace Water Chestnuts in your dish with Bamboo Shoots due to their firm texture. But try to get fresh bamboo shoots instead of the canned ones.

And make sure, just like water chestnuts, you cook bamboo shoots first to remove their bitter flavor.

If you can’t find Bamboo Shoots in your nearest grocery store, you can go for Canned Bamboo Shoots. However, their flavor will be less compared to the fresh ones.

I Don’t Like Water Chestnuts. Can I Use Pecan In My Desserts Instead Of Water Chestnuts? 

Yes, you can. Pecans can act as a supremely delicious and equally healthy substitute for Water Chestnuts. They are also easily available. Unfortunately, though they are rich in numerous vitamins and minerals, they are also high in fats.

Can I Replace Water Chestnuts With Celery?

If you love green vegetables, like celery, you can substitute Water Chestnuts with Celery. But they both have different flavors. So, while adding celery to your dish, check the flavor to match your taste. 

Which Nuts Can Be Used In Place Of Water Chestnuts In Dessert?

You can replace Water Chestnuts with Pecans, Almonds, or Hazelnuts in your desserts, depending on your taste and preference.

14 Amazing Ingredients That You Can Use To Substitute Water Chestnuts

5 from 5 votes
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

5

minutes
Total time

15

minutes

Ingredients

  • Canned Water Chestnuts

  • White Turnips

  • Jicama

  • Jerusalem Artichokes

  • Bamboo Shoots

  • Daikon

  • Celery

  • Pecans

  • Crosnes

  • Almonds

  • Hazelnuts

  • Cassava Flour

  • Fresh Ginger

  • Radish Slices

Directions

  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio.

Recipe Video

Jess Smith